Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada's export credit agency, has set up its first global branch in Singapore.
The Marina Bay Financial Centre branch will negotiate and underwrite trade finance deals from Singapore, with the aim of helping companies in the region trade with Canada.
The agency will also actively pursue opportunities to collaborate with commercial banks here, said its regional vice-president for Asia, Mr William Brown. Its focus will be on developing financing relationships with companies across the region that may already have Canadian suppliers, or could potentially trade with Canada.
EDC provides insurance and financial services, bonding products and small business solutions to exporters, investors and international buyers. "Asia is a dynamic region that is growing at a phenomenal rate, and growing Asian companies need capital to support their growth aspirations and trade-focused business," said Mr Brown, who will be based in Singapore. He added that Singapore was chosen as the location for EDC's first global branch because of its conducive business environment, educated workforce and its role as Asia's financial, commercial and transportation hub.
The agency has six offices in the region. The others are in Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai, Delhi and Jakarta. Unlike the other offices, which are strictly for relationship management, the Singapore office will process transactions, Mr Brown said.
EDC has a staff of nine in Singapore and plans to expand in the coming years, he added.
The agency has helped facilitate about C$90 billion (S$94.4 billion) in business between Asian and Canadian companies over the past five years.
Key sectors of interest are infrastructure, including energy and clean technology; mining; oil and gas; light manufacturing; and information and communications technology, among others.
The agency supported nearly 1,300 companies in Asia last year. The Singapore branch is expected to play an important role in doubling EDC's loan bookings by 2021, when it hopes to be providing more than US$4 billion (S$5.6 billion) in new commercial financing every year.
In particular, EDC has provided more than US$315 million to Asia's infrastructure sector over the last five years, mainly through financing to Asia corporates. "EDC having a presence in the market will make it easier for companies across all of Asia to take advantage of Canada's capabilities to offer cost-effective, efficient and sustainable ways of improving various infrastructure across the entire region," said Mr Brown.